Tag Archives: heterosexism

Ace Community Issues Linkspam

A short linkspam of linkspams (and some individual posts) on ace intersections, including intracommunity issues and problems faced outside the community.  I’m still not all there in the head but, hey, wanted to do a thing, still.

Note in case of tumblrwarp: please visit the original wordpress post in case of future edits/updates.

Gender (Identity and Alignment) – Carnival of Aces November 2011: Gender and Carnival of Aces March 2016: Gender Norms and Asexuality feature posts on being trans, being female, and being nonbinary.

Race and Ethnicity – Vesper’s APoC Resources page has tons of links to content on/by/for asexual people of color, including articles and videos on racism inside and outside of the community, such as The Large Space That White Supremacy Occupies In Conversations About Sexuality.

You can also find some posts on being Jewish in the roundup for Carnival of Aces October 2014.

Gay, Bi, and Queer – On this subject, I’d highlight Living gay (and ace), On “no romo”, and Being asexual, “of the bi-ish persuasion,” and afraid, as well as this post on guilt over desire for representation. For further reading, see Queenie’s so-called teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and queerness.

Illness and Disability – Carnival of Aces June 2015: Mental Health  and Carnival of Aces October 2013: Disability and Asexuality feature posts on being mentally ill, being disabled, and choices on the part of the ace community, disability activists, and health care providers.

Sexual Violence – Queenie’s Ace Survivors as Rhetorical Devices series explains how to avoid damaging rhetoric about survivors of sexual violence.

The RFAS (Resources for Ace Survivors) Recommended Reading page covers a broader range of topics under the same umbrella of asexuality and sexual violence.

Miscellaneous – Examples of Bad Ace Advice and Hezza’s Asexual identity prescriptivism linkspam address identity-policing and other issues.

abuse spans all

Okay yeah and branching off that last post, how about this wild idea: Abusers… are… unreasonable.  They do unreasonable things.  They have unreasonable expectations.  They are unreasonable.  So I’ve got no clue what some people are on about whenever they say something like “imagine a parent getting mad at their kid for X, that doesn’t happen because that’s just ridiculous.”  Hey, real fun fact: “it’s ridiculous” has never been enough to stop humanity from doing cruel and violent things.  Holding that expectation at all is ridiculous.  And more importantly here, it begs the question: Why are you expecting abusive behavior to be reasonable?  Why are you talking like there exists any abuse where you’d look at it and say, “oh, yeah that makes sense”?

Do me a favor and pay attention to that.  If someone’s position is that real abuse is “reasonable,” that’s the kind of thing that calls a person’s entire politics into question.

Of good ace fairies and bad aces fairies

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healthism and femininity

[cw: Christianity comparison in post; sexually-toned “reparative therapy”-toned psychiatric abuse, misogyny, and anti-sex worker sentiment at link]

Anyway this is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say the concept of “health” has been used to abuse and control people.

And I should be able to drop a sentence like that and leave it, without anticipating someone seeing it and coming back to me with “It’s good to be healthy though.  Don’t shame people for trying to get healthy.”  Of course it’s convenient to be healthy.  But I should get to be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘good for your health'” without getting inane responses, the same way I should be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘it’s God’s will'” without someone replying, “But some things ARE God’s will and it’s important to follow it.”  I mean, I expect even very sheltered Christians to get the idea that some Chritianities are worse than others and do lead people astray, but I swear I don’t know how to get through to some people about healthism, not when it’s as ingrained in my culture as it is, I dare say more than Christianity is.  Critiquing healthism is incomprehensible blasphemy.  I might as well tell someone “I want to be sick and always getting sicker.”  It’s…  I don’t know.  I worry.  I worry about the pervasiveness of a faith that strong.

Here are some quotes for those of you who didn’t click the link.

A quote from user lesbian-lily in the linked comment chain:

I’m too tired to find sources and images and whatever, but this is literally how they used to assess women’s mental health and still is a lot of the time. If women wore baggy clothes, didn’t wear make up, didn’t have perfect hair or rejected femininity in any way it was used as a sign of their mental health, a sign that they were crazy and needed fixing. Women wouldn’t be able to free themselves from institutions until they began to conform to femininity. Associating self care with femininity is kinda really fucked up considering we used to get sectioned purely for not being feminine enough.

A quote from Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful cultural practices in the west screenshot’d by user nineteencigarettes:

Pertschuck’s big worry is that, “The woman who feels unable to meet the demands of a female identity and who grooms and dresses accordingly is indeed likely to be viewed as asexual by those around her” (1985, p.221).  The woman may desire precisely such freedom from men’s gaze but Pertschuck will not allow it.  He sees the solution for such women who refuse to service male sexuality as “appearance training.”

What’s got me hecked up is that I can’t even be properly horrified at just the passages themselves, because I’m also thinking…

I’m imagining that someone would tell me the use of the word “asexual” here has nothing to do with the modern usage by the ace community, not even a little bit.  Which makes about as much sense to me as saying that there’s no anti-butch sentiment in trying to “help” an unfeminine woman engage in more feminine beauty rituals, as long as the reason for that “help” isn’t paired with suspicion that she’s attracted to women.  Or as much sense as saying that this “appearance training” to make her sexier (to men) has nothing to do with heteronormativity.  Just misogyny.  Just misogyny alone.  Because those two systems don’t overlap like that and aren’t enmeshed in each other or anything.

I’m so hecked up by the homophobia of saying homophobia doesn’t care about making women attractive to/attracted to/”sexually available” to men.  It’s just so patently false, so black is white and red is blue, it springs up in my brain now when I read about this stuff.  God, I want to fight someone.  But this is down the rabbit hole deep.

more Lehr quotes

[cw: heterosexism, misogyny, racism, classism]

“We can consider further the importance of sexual exclusivity within marriage and the impact of inclusion into the marriage contract by exploring the regulation of marriage through the requirement of consummation, which guarantees that the family is a sexual family.  Richard Collier (1995) provides a detailed analysis of the construction of appropriate sexuality and masculine identity in British law through legal cases contesting the consummation of particular marriages. In these cases, the courts decide what counts as meaningful enough sexual interaction within a marriage so that the marriage should continue… the courts can void those contracts where they — generally in conversation with ‘experts’ such as medical professionals — determine that appropriate sexuality has not taken place.”

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 28-29

“…In fact, the social privileging of heterosexual monogamy was part of an early twentieth-century attempt to control and civilize European immigrants, and to control and encourage white middle-class women to reproduce.  It was a social norm heavily connected to the middle-class desire to encourage the development of private family life, a life away from the public space of the street.  By forming such isolated family units, men would be influenced by the pro-social desires and needs of their wives; workers would be more hesitant to strike, both because they would be less connected to one another and because they would feel greater responsibility to their wives and children; ideal consumer units would be created; and parents would be able to support their increasingly costly children…  Within this patriarchal construction, women were accorded rights by the state and benefits from the state not as individual, but as mothers and as caretakers of others.”


“…Equally important, [creating and maintaining relationships and that embodied romantic and sexual desire] provided a rationale for addressing what had become a serious social concern — an increased number of educated, middle-class women who were choosing not to marry and not to give birth.

In the period immediately prior to the consolidation of the companionate marriage as ‘normal,’ women chose in extraordinary large numbers to forgo marriage and childbearing… The circumstances that gave rise to an ideology that defined single women and men increasingly as ‘sick’ and dangerous are instructive for us today because they reveal the complex ways by which gender, sexuality, race, class norms, and privilege were woven together through the creation of norms of family.”


“While white middle-class women were giving birth to fewer children in the late 1800s, large numbers of immigrants continued to enter the country and rates of reproduction were higher among immigrants, blacks, and the native working class than for the white middle class.  Spreading the middle-class value of sexual restraint to the working class was one answer to growing fears of ‘race suicide.’ This would only be effective, however, if combined with increasing pressure on white middle-class women to marry and give birth to more children.  President Theodore Roosevelt expressed these desires: ‘By 1906 [Roosevelt] blatantly equated the falling birth rate among native born whites with the impending threat of ‘race suicide.’  In his State of the Union message that year Roosevelt admonished the well-born white women who engaged in “willful sterility” — the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race suicide’ (Davis 1981, 209).”


“The development of hegemonic family centered around companionate heterosexual relationships and had a particularly devastating effect on women who often did not have the economic resources to choose not to marry.  The attack used against women who were choosing to not marry was that they were too androgynous — that is, not accepting of their proper place as women.”


…Does this remind you of anything?

cheat code

[cw: contentious ace stuff, Christian dialect (sin talk) ]

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Shortcomings of LGB Homogenization

[cw: use/discussion of “sga” as a term, which for some is experienced as a slur]

Here’s something I haven’t seen addressed yet about lgb homogenization, by which I mean defining “heterosexism” as “homophobia” and defining “homophobia,” in turn, as related strictly to punishment of what’s termed “sga,” as reclaimed by some lgb folk.

This homogenization premise — that all silencing, abuse, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation is specifically about a presence of attraction to people of the same gender as the self (homogenizers regularly shorten this to “sga”) — has this dubious major implication: that the oppression of gay, lesbian, and bi/pan people (should, hypothetically) all function exactly the same way.  That is, the things they’re punished for, as lgb people, is a list that begins and ends with so-called “sga.”

I’ve already seen bi people taking issue with that idea, right or wrong, but what I haven’t seen contested or addressed is how this premise denies certain elements of the social reality for gay folks.

That is, for example — homogenization contends that lesbians as a class aren’t punished for anything that bi women as a class are not also punished for.

What strikes me about this, most of all, is that romantic/sexual rejection of men-as-a-class — something associated with lesbians & sometimes used as half the definition of a lesbian — would not, then, be part of the definition of homophobia.  According to homogenization, any “non-sga” elements of an orientation are politically irrelevant (that is, such attributes have no relationship to the term “oppression”).

So… if you were someone beginning from a lbg homoginization premise, would you rather:

  1. argue that [violence targeting people who lack cross-gender attraction or desire] doesn’t happen?
  2. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but is not part of any axis of oppression?
  3. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen and is oppressive, but is attributable to a different axis of oppression (ex. misogyny and racism, not heterosexism)?
  4. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but only to gay people who have already come out as gay?
  5. argue that the aforementioned violence does happen, but is attributable to “misdirected homophobia” (even when the targets in question are themselves gay)?

Any other possibilities that haven’t occurred to me here?

Which do you think would be easiest to make a case for?

so I bought some new books…

Group reproduction – both biological and social – is fundamental to nationalist practice, process, and politics.  While virtually all feminist treatments of nationalism recognize this fact, they typically take for granted that group reproduction is heterosexist.  I refer here to the assumption – institutionalized in state-based orders through legal and ideological codifications and naturalized by reference to the binary of male-female sex difference – that heterosexuality is the only “normal” mode of sexual identity, sexual practice, and social relations.  Heterosexism presupposes a binary coding of polarized and hierarchical male/masculine and female/feminine identities (ostensibly based on a dichotomy of biophysical features) and denies all but heterosexual coupling as the basis of sexual intimacy, family life, and group reproduction.  And heterosexism is key to nationalism because today’s state-centric nationalisms (the focus of this chapter) not only engage in sexist practices that are now well documented by feminists, but also take for granted  heterosexist sex/gender identities and forms of group reproduction that underpin sexism but which are not typically interrogated even in feminist critiques.

[…] Heterosexism as sex/affect involves the normalization of exclusively heterosexual desire, intimacy, and family life.  Historically, this normalization is inextricable from the state’s interest in regulating sexual reproduction, undertaken primarily through controlling women’s bodies, policing sexual activities, and instituting the heteropatriarchal family/household as the basic socio-economic unit.  This normalization entails constructions of gender identity and hegemonic masculinity as heterosexual, with corollary interests in women’s bodies as objects of (male) sexual gratification and the means of ensuring group continuity.

–V. Spike Peterson, “Sexing political identities/nationalism as heterosexism,” Women, States, and Nationalism, p. 59-60


To display the falsity of the “natural” nuclear family, Michelle Barrett explored the many different forms that family takes in human societies by examining anthropoligical and historical works.  “At an ideological level,” she wrote, “the bourgeoisie has certainly secured a hegemonic definition of family life: as ‘naturally’ based on close kinship, as properly organized through a male breadwinner with financially dependent wife and children, and as a haven of privacy beyond the realm of commerce and industry.”  If we reject the ideological assertion that the state is merely protecting natural relationships, then we need to ask whose interests the family-household system embedded in twentieth-century American liberalism serves…

[…] The ability to create a privatized household depends on financial resources that are unavailable to many, particularly families that do not have a white, male wage-earner… Those who cannot satisfy the material prerequisites of family life do not create the same kind of privatized units as those of the more economically privileged…

[…] Although the contractually agreed-to marriages of today may seem like a significant advance over the pre-arranged, clearly economic arrangements made for many men and women in the past, this understanding presupposes that monogamous, dyadic sexual relationships should have higher status and receive greater benefits than other forms of relationships.  This superiority is asserted often through a variety of disciplinary mechanisms, including mental health experts, the media, schools, religious institutions, and the law.  In this sense, marriage itself can — and should — be understood as a disciplinary system…

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 19, 20, 23


Re: this, on rhetorical strategies for dealing with Christian anti-gay vitriol —

Yes to nixing the antisemitism, but this… “no one should be forced to adhere to the beliefs of someone else’s religion”… *rubs temples*  Look, I know, what you’re going for.  There’s real value to that.

But in so far as I believe in a Thing that is Religion (I don’t), I consider it one of my “”””religious beliefs”””” that all people deserve to live, so… yeah, I’m invested in “forcing” people to abide by that one.


less arbitrary religious/secular divisions as a basis for deicing what’s appropriate, more responding to bigoted abusive Christians with Bible-based anarchy

as allacharade put it:

more arguments pointing out that the very same book of the bible demands you leave some of your food for the poor, that you act unbiasedly in upholding the law, that you never take advantage of those at risk in your community, that you never mistreat the poor, the stranger and foreigner in your land, those with disabilities or the elderly. More arguments that point out that you can’t be mad that the law of a secular country doesn’t fit with your one interpretation of one verse in Leviticus, but not be furious at the way minorities and poor people in the country are treated. That if you want to call yourself defenders of the bible and this is the only thing you get mad about, you don’t know the bible very well.

see, this is what I meant

Another short asexuality & racism post.

[cw: masturbation mentions in the video]

Like.  Okay.  There are good things in this video but come on.

  • every single one of the aces presented is (ostensibly) White
  • narration “So when everything around us is sexualized” overlays quick shots of dark-skinned women dancing, some of whom appear to have natural Black hair (it’s hard to get a good look at them because the lighting is so dim and the shots are cut so short — but the presence of one man standing still among the dancers makes this look like a clip from a rap video)

Hello?  Hello ?????  Are you trying to play into racist tropes?

Other things in this video:

  1. continuing the “asexual people have it harder than sga people” thing
  2. citing the 1% statistic, at least more appropriate in location this time
  3. mentioning the “oh you’re Christian too though? It’s just repression then” thing! which is actually good to mention!

Anyway, one of the aces in this claims that “the biggest problem” is that most people don’t even realize that they’re asexual or can identify as asexual, which I wouldn’t say is the biggest problem, but whether or not it is, videos like this are helpful to some people more than others.